Why do we offer food in temples?

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Indian Culture


Sadhguru delves into various aspects of why food is offered to deities in temples. There is an elaborate science behind it. The science of consecration and energies. Both to keep the energies of the deity alive, and also to imbibe the energy of the deity in oneself.


Duration: 8 min


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6 min read

Why do we offer food in temples?

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

Sadhguru: Because they want to eat! The god doesn’t eat how do we eat? No, it’s a… there are various aspects to this. If I go into all this, too much for you. But one simple thing is, one thing is devotion. There is a science behind it, but the essential thing is devotion.

Suppose you had a guest in your house, because here we are not… See, you need to understand this – India is a godless country. You don’t like it? When I say a godless country, this is the only culture which clearly understands that god is our making. Everywhere else people think god made them. Here we know, it is we who made the gods. There’s a whole technology of god-making in this country, that you can make a god that you want.

So we have today, 330 million gods and goddesses, but that happened when our population was 330 million. Since then, since the Europeans came and others came and made us feel ashamed of many gods, we lost our imagination. We’re trying to reduce the number of gods. But whatever said and done, there’ll be two dozen gods in every home. Below that they can’t go, minimum two dozen. Less than that we’ll feel kind of lost. Now, the idea of a god up there is essentially a western idea. When I say western, anything west of India is west for us, which includes Pakistan. So it’s just essentially that.

Here, we never looked at that, that way. Here we said – you can have any number of gods you want. In a same house they are worshipping twenty-five gods. You see, the Indian households? So how can you worship twenty-five gods? Twenty-five gods only because our houses are not big enough, otherwise we would have put twenty-five hundred gods.

The science or the technology of god-making, in the sense, we understood that existence is just the same energy everywhere. It can be a rock, it can be a tree, it can be a flower, it can be a fruit, it can be an animal, a bird, a human being. So if a rock can be a human being… see, what was soil, what was mud out there, became food. What was food is sitting here as Alexander the great. Yes or no? No?

Interviewer: Yeah, well, in a convoluted way, yeah.

Sadhguru: Yes or no?

Interviewer: Yes.

Sadhguru: What was there [pointing to mud], I was walking upon it yesterday, today it is sitting here as Alexander the great. This Alexander the great, the old one is there [pointing to mud] now. Yes or no? So if mud can become Alexander, can’t we fine-tune it to become something more? So we understood this. This is called the science of consecration. If this mud can become a human being, it can become a tree, it can become a flower, it can become a fruit – if you create the necessary tuning, it will become a divine entity, it’ll become a divine presence. This is the whole science of consecration.

So people started creating various kinds of gods. For different purposes, different kinds of gods. This is not just belief system. You’ve been to the temples? You go sit in the Dhyanalinga, how it feels; go into the Bhairavi, how it feels – very different. Go and sit in the Adiyogi Alayam – very, very different. Because they are consecrated differently. Different kinds of manifestations of the same energy. Even now it’s the same thing. The same energy is manifesting itself as a stone, as a tree, as a flower, as a fruit, as a bird, as an animal, as a human being. The same thing, if it is taken to its subtlest possibility, it becomes divine.

From the leaf and the flower and the fruit and the food – everything is different for every deity

So here we did not wait for god to come down, we created our own gods the way we wanted. We’re still given the freedom that if we don’t like any of the present manifestations, we can create new ones – called ishta devta. You can create your own god or goddess. Nowhere else this freedom is there. This is ultimate democracy, where you can even create your own god. Where else does people have such freedom? Tell me. You have to believe the god that they tell you otherwise you are dead.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Sadhguru: So this question about why we offer naivedhya – we don’t offer the same type of naivedhya to all the gods, it’s very different. That energy what it needs, that is what we offer. For example, Dhyanalinga, no offering. He doesn’t need anything. If nobody enters the temple for next thousand years, and you come back after thousand years, he will still be the same. He will simply sit there, he is a yogi, he doesn’t need any attention.

But Bhairavi is not like that. Every day we have to offer to he we have to take care of here. If you don’t take care of her, initially she’ll get angry, after that she will dissipate. And when she is angry I don’t want to be here. So they are very differently made. So for every kind of deity, we have a specific type of naivedhya, which enhances and supports that type of energy. So there is a whole science behind it. From the leaf and the flower and the fruit and the food – everything is different for every deity.

Today lot of people are simply doing something, whatever they know. But if you go look back into the tradition, very distinctly defined that this is what you must offer to this deity, because every substance has its own vibration. You take the… you know, you take this bamboo leaf into your hand and feel it, how it feels. You take that [pointing to a tree] other leaf and hold it and see, how it feels. Every tree and every leaf will feel different, if you are sensitive. If you are not sensitive to it, everything is… you know, you can ignore everything and go on.

These are two different types of naivedhyas [food offering]. One is for you, one is for that [deity]

So what you offer to a particular deity is all structured in such a way that it enhances that energy, it supports that energy. Either to enhance that or to receive it, both, there are two types of naivedhyas. One is just given to the God, another is just placed there and given back to the people. So these are two different types of naivedhyas. One is for you, one is for that [deity]. One is to enhance that [deity] energy, that’s your contribution. Another is, to receive that energy so that you can take it home with you. So these are two different aspects. It’s a very elaborate system.

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